Early Preview: nuTsie streaming music app for webOS (beta)
nuTsie is a music player app that allows you to access your home music library via the web. It adds a clever innovation over other web based music apps like Pandora and Slacker as nuTsie can determine what kind of music you’d like by analyzing your own library. Think of it like Pandora or Slacker with the bonus of accessing the music you happen to have in your own library. It's currently available for iPhone, BlackBerry, and Android. Months ago during its spree of acquisitions, HP purchased nuTsie's parent company, Melodeo, which leaves us wondering where is the webOS app?
While there is no word as to when the official webOS version of the nuTsie music app will be released, we originally reported on the nuTsie beta being available for download via the Palm Developer feed some time ago. NuTsie for webOS is currently in a closed beta and although it briefly appeared as a publicly downloadable app in the Beta feed, it's gone now.
We did grab a download when it was available, however, and although the app wasn't fully functional, we received an activation code from Melodeo. So while we don't have a version that streams music, we do have a good idea of what the functionality will be. Will we see nuTsie (or hopefully an enhanced version of it) on Wednesday? Hopefully, but in the meantime let's take a look at the early beta to see if we can get some hints for what HP has planned in the music space.
First and foremost nuTsie is an iTunes-centric streaming music app. NuTsie reads your iTunes music library and syncs the titles and playlists to the cloud so you can stream your music. This should be very good news for any iTunes user that happens to be a webOS devotee as well (i.e. no more broken iTunes syncing). It should be noted, however, that access to your music is limited with playback functionality governed by the FairPlay licensing rules. In other words, you give up the ability to rewind or go directly to any specific song in your iTunes music library. The FairPlay limited access to the music you own may change with future updates to nuTsie as Melodeo reportedly has plans to expand it’s cloud storage and streaming capabilities. But for now, although you are streaming your own music with the nuTsie app, that streaming comes in the form of random mixes.
An additional feature of the nuTsie music app in the iTunes-centric arena is the “Top 100s Radio” button. This feature gives you access to some 45 plus built-in “Top 100s” playlists starting with the obvious “iTunes Top 100” to the obscure but highly entertaining “500 Songs Every Rock Fan Should Know” playlist. Then there seems to be just about every kind of “Top 100s” playlist in between, including but not limited to, country, reggae, jazz, classical, hip-hop and so on. If you’re doing the math, buying the equivalent “Top 100” music apps from HP in the Palm App Catalog alone would run you roughly somewhere between $45 and $60. Additionally, these same Top 100s playlists will give you access to a hefty number of music tracks somewhere just shy of 5,000 songs by our count. In other words, aside from your own iTunes music, the amount of music the nuTsie app gives you access to is pretty impressive.
Sound exciting so far? It gets better. There are a number of fun and even downright awesome features in the nuTsie music app. The first is the “Genius Radio” feature. In similar fashion to Apple’s Genius feature in iTunes, nuTsie offers their own version in Genius Radio. This feature takes music from your iTunes library and iTunes playlists and compiles personalized radio stations featuring your iTunes music mixed with new music tailor-made to your musical tastes. Then there is the “Serendipity Slider” in the preferences menu. This allows you to scale how much new music is mixed into your existing playlists and iTunes music library during playback of your own music. On one end of the serendipity spectrum you have the “Only My Music” option while on the polar opposite end of the spectrum you have the “Only New Music” option. The Serendipity Slider works just like a music player scrubber allowing you to fine tune the amount of new music you do or do not hear mixed in with your own music.
Other aspects to the webOS version of nuTsie that we like are the clean and simple UI and gesture-based functionality. Both the UI and gestures mimic much of Palm’s built-in music player which make for a very intuitive user experience.
Also of note, when compared to what we know about the BlackBerry and Android versions of the nuTsie music app, there appears to be nothing new in the webOS version. Although it would be a pleasant surprise to see something unique here, especially considering Palm and Melodeo are sister companies under the HP banner, seeing only a full webOS version of the nuTsie app and nothing more is just fine by us.
Finally let us say our first look at the nuTsie app for webOS is making us… well, nutsie. Someone had to say it. The hierarchy of the nuTsie music experience coming soon to your webOS device can be summarized as cloud-based storage and streaming of the following:
- Your iTunes music library;
- Your iTunes playlists;
- Other people's iTunes playlists on your device;
- Fresh, new music tailor-made to your musical tastes;
- and finally, 45+ "Top 100s" playlists to the tune of nearly 5,000 songs representing the best of nearly every musical genre over the last 50 years.
As ardent music fans and webOS junkies, pardon us if we sound just a little bit excited. We are. The nuTsie beta for webOS appears to fulfill our expectations as arguably the best streaming music app for webOS or any smartphone OS for that matter. Seemingly, like all things great in webOS land (webOS 2.0 and shiny new hardware), the wait for the official release of the nuTsie streaming music app is on.